As a synaesthete I find myself falling into the individual notes of the music like Alice falling down the rabbit hole, into a world that is far removed from the one my eyes describe to me. Whole landscapes spring forth as the notes cascade with me, mountains, forests, and rolling clouds in the evening sky giving encore to a day and a place that exists somewhere separate from my usual awareness. A place that looks as old as time, but as fresh and new as the music that is giving it life. In these moments I become hooked in the emotions that well up from the deep gorges scored by the slow pulse of the double bass, like dark earth anchoring tree roots in paternal embrace, as I soar high above riding the currents of the vitality that emanates from the musical landscape below. In that moment I am smitten, entranced by the richness of the melodies, riffs, and bass lines of the musical notes as they find their place in the multidimensional space of my synaesthete mind. As the track comes to an end and the next begins, so the landscape changes, along with the tones, emotions, and I am instantly transported elsewhere, feeling something completely new and different.

It’s a roller-coaster ride listening to an entire album, and often when I write I will have the same track looping over and over in order to preserve the sentiment and the world that that particular piece of music allows me to inhabit, until I have finished the piece I’m working on.

Learning to put into words what I experience through my multi-sense-awareness has taken me a lifetime already. Often though, there just aren’t words that can convey what I’m experiencing, so I hope that through my words and images that some of that original intent is delivered and shared, even if there are no words to describe the sentiment that is felt by the person experiencing my art.

Music in particular is a such  powerful medium for me, that I cannot help but be drawn in by its gravitational pull. At times I find that I have to avoid it because if I allow myself to get hooked then it can completely throw me off kilter, introducing emotions and experiences that lead me astray, and detract from other things I may have to do. There are times however, that I use it to my advantage, with one album in particular that I listen to that serves as a reset button when I feel I have lost my way and forgotten who I am. Who needs drugs right?

Beautiful sunsets, sunrises, moody skies, art, photography  have a similar effect on me too. I think of the film ‘Highlander’, and the moment Christopher Lambert extols the infamous line, “There can be only one!” as a shaft of light pulls him up into the air connecting his soul to the soul of heaven (I’m assuming), and thus renewing his life. The power of the shaft of light is what I’m really alluding to here as being akin to what I experience when I connect with something, with little control over it as it flows from the area of my solar plexus outward and inward.

Absolutely everything within my external and internal environments affects my mood, and as you can imagine a great deal of self-control is required in order to maintain a semblance of composure much of the time. It’s like trying to control a very powerful electrical current into the low voltage appliance of my human body, and short circuits happen frequently affecting my health. It’s both exhilarating and a burden to be a synaesthete, but it is who and what I am in every conceivable way. As I breathe out I can see pale blue mingling with the ambient yellows and golds of the surrounding room I’m in. The blue tells me of the exertion I am experiencing at trying to tame the energy of the writhing serpent that is my multidimensional sensory awareness into tight little black words taking root into the illuminated electronic screen of my laptop, who sits upon my lap, patiently and faithfully like a cat.

I am not materialistic, but once I establish an emotional connection with something, I find it very hard to let it go. To me there is no difference between an inanimate object, a sunset, or an abstract concept. I sense them all in the same way, through raw energy and emotion, and all that that entails for me. Makes me think of the North American Indian concept of everything having a soul. It’s a bit like that I suppose.

When I connect with individual people, well, that’s an experience all by itself.

2 thoughts on “Because of you SWCC – Where Time Stands Still

  1. I understand this, which is why I think it became easy to write my synesthete character. To some degree, I think people have an innate sense of this, but it’s taught out of us. It rests within the base of a number of religions, not just Native American, but traditional West African religions and especially Shinto, which 80% of Japanese follow, even though few identify themselves with the actual religion. (It’s like doing traditionally “Christian” things even though you don’t consider yourself to be a Christian.)

    Wikepedia describes Shintoism as follows: “Kami refers to the divinity, or sacred essence, that manifests in multiple forms: rocks, trees, rivers, animals, places, and even people can be said to possess the nature of kami.] Kami and people are not separate; they exist within the same world and share its interrelated complexity.”

    I think the differential part is actually experiencing things with some tangible sense: seeing colors, tasting them, etc. In my book, the character’s emotions painted how she interpreted the synesthetic inputs, but I guess that’s true of any sense, really.

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